It was a day which should have been celebrated and trumpeted as the beginning of a new era and the launching of a new age in Edmonton. But it seemed mostly like the end of an excruciating, tormenting, torturing ordeal.

And on three previous occasions done deals had been trumpeted and celebrated before.

It took so long to get the now $480-million deal done the people involved couldn’t even agree on how long it had gone on before Daryl Katz and the City of Edmonton both agreed to throw in a final $15 million each to get the full financing in place Wednesday.

“It’s been a soap opera for six or seven years,” said Karen Leibovici as she explained why she would vote ‘yes’ one last time along with nine other members of council with only three against.

Mayor Stephen Mandel said “this has been four years of a challenge” but in the end, despite the lack of bells ringing out and banners flying, the man who may go down in history as Edmonton’s greatest builder, made the pronouncement.

“This is actually 100%. Council waived the conditions.

“We are moving ahead and I can’t imagine why the province wouldn’t support this,” he said of the one remaining itsy, bitsy, teeny, weenie, tiny little item, the government of Alberta giving the OK for a $25-million grant from the Regional Collaboration Program. That was approved by entities such as Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, etc. representing 95% of the population surrounding the city.

“I fully agree with that and I think Daryl does, too,” added Katz Group executive VP and legal council John Karvallas of it finally being finished.

“Everybody agrees,” said the Mayor. “It’s $480 million. The numbers is fixed. F-i-x-e-d. Fixed.

“At the end of the day it’s what’s best for the City of Edmonton. We will have a brand new arena with the Oilers, which is one of the most valuable assets of this city, staying in this city for the next 35 years.”

It’s Done Deal IV when it comes to the downtown arena project. Done Deal I was exactly two days short of being two years ago.

Covering a playoff series in Vancouver, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman sent a representative to escort your correspondent down from the press box to Daryl Katz box for an exclusive interview when he got off the phone with Mayor Mandel after the city council decision to build it.

“The vote was 8-to-5,” he turned and said to me as he hung up with the mayor. “It’s a great day for the City of Edmonton — a very significant day for the city. And it’s a great day for the Edmonton Oilers.

“It’s been my dream. I don’t know if it’s going to be my legacy, but it’s been a dream. I said it when I bought the team. I had three objectives. I wanted a successful, sustainable hockey franchise in Edmonton. It wasn’t sustainable when I bought it. I wanted to build a world-class arena, which we didn’t have. And I wanted to create a revitalization of downtown Edmonton. This is a new message to the world about Edmonton’s downtown.”

This time the Oilers owner was on the speaker phone at the post-vote press conference.

“This is a great day for Edmonton. It’s been a long road for everyone involved in this project, myself included” he said.

“We’re thrilled this deal has finally been approved. We said at the outset that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Edmonton.

“It’s also about putting the Oilers where they belong which is at the centre of our city and the heart of our community.

“I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me to picture 20,000 people downtown enjoying a game or going to a concert or some other event and the opportunity that creates for existing businesses downtown as well as new shops and restaurants.”

Between Done Deal I and Done Deal IV, there were a lot of other messages to the world about Edmonton’s council and the Oilers’ owner in the last two years.